Neil Gorsuch, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals judge nominated by President Donald Trump to the vacant Supreme Court seat last week, said Wednesday he was "disheartened" by the president attempting to delegitimize a federal judge. Gorsuch made the comment during a meeting with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, as he seeks Senate confirmation. Blumenthal told reporters of Gorsuch's remarks, which were confirmed to Business Insider by a spokesperson for the Supreme Court nomination team.
"He said very specifically that they were demoralizing and disheartening and he characterized them very specifically that way," Blumenthal said, according to CNN. "I said they were more than disheartening and I said to him that he has an obligation to make his views clear to the American people, so they understand how abhorrent or unacceptable President Trump's attacks on the judiciary are." The comments in question included tweets over the weekend where Trump called US District Judge James Robart — appointed by President George W. Bush — a "so-called" judge. Robart issued a nationwide stay on parts of Trump's controversial executive order temporarily barring travel into the United States from seven majority Muslim nations identified as hot spots for terror, in addition to suspending all refugee entry.
Trump later suggested that, should any terror attacks occur while the stay was issued on the travel ban, the judge should be blamed. Critics of his remarks said the president was seeking to undermine the independence of the judiciary. The stay issued by Robart on parts of Trump's executive order is now being reviewed by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. On Tuesday, both the State of Washington and the Department of Justice presented their cases before a three-judge panel.